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Santa Clara County Named in $400 Million False Claims Damages Suit Over DFCS Fraud
Suit Alleges CPS Charged State and Federal Programs For Non Existent Children
After a Federal False Claims Act suit was unsealed last week, the County of Santa Clara has been served with a summons to appear on charges of defrauding State and Federal Social Security funds for Foster Care.
The suit alleges that the Department of Family and Children's Services regularly bills the State and Federal Governments for managing case files of children that do not exist. The attorney for the case estimated the damages and fraud at about $400 million dollars in State and Federal funds.
The Whistleblower in this case reportedly has copies of documents that show DFCS Management and Supervisors ordered Social Workers to bill for 5 children in one case rather than for the two children that the mother actually gave birth to.
Dr. Karl Hoffower, the President of the South Bay Chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights said, "We have been receiving complaints against DFCS for several years. Parents have brought evidence of improper conduct on the part of Social Workers that never made sense until now. By this suit it appears that DFCS Social Workers have a monetary motivation behind their actions."
Dr. Hoffower went on to say, "This lawsuit could also be the explanation for why 40% of the case files in the County's 2003 'Children of Color Study*', that investigated DFCS on charges of racism, were missing. While it has always seemed odd that 40% of the DFCS files were never found for that study, this lawsuit might have the best explanation for that blunder... they just never existed to begin with."
The suit further charges that several psychologists have assisted in defrauding the State and Federal programs by billing for therapy sessions that never took place. The Whistleblower alleges that DFCS contracts with psychologists to perform therapy sessions to children in the Foster Care System. Those sessions were reimbursed via a prepaid contract with the County, yet the Whistleblower's claims no refund was made when the sessions did not take place. In fact the suit claims to have evidence that DFCS and the psychologists agreed that the money didn't have to be paid back.
The former Ombudsman and current Legal Redress Officer for the Silicon Valley NAACP, Ms. Nedra Jones said, "I knew there must be some type of fraud going on with DFCS. This suit validates the complaints we tried to bring to the attention of the County back in 2004. The deceitful actions and callous disregard for the truth was a daily fight we experienced while trying to work with Social Workers and DFCS Management. No wonder we had a hard time trying to help right the wrongs of DFCS, they didn't want us looking too far into their cases for fear of being found out."
If you think you have had your rights violated by Social Workers or DFCS, call the CCHR hotline at 1-800-330-7290.
The children of Color Study's full title, "An Evaluation of Factors Related to the Disproportionate Representation of Children of Color in Santa Clara County's Child Welfare System"
Citizens Commission on Human Rights®
South Bay Chapter
April 3, 2006